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There’s a new game in town
SNP MP Angus MacNei
And SNP MP Angus MacNeil has reacted by taking to Twitter to crow: “There’s a new game in town.” Scotland’s First Minister is pushing for Indyref2 despite Scotland voting against quitting the Union six years ago – but UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has steadfastly refused her demands.
The so-called Plan B motion drawn up by Mr MacNeil and SNP Councillor Chris McEleny has been agreed by Angus MacLeod, the SNP’s national secretary – clearing the way for it to be debated at the party’s conference next month.
If ratified, it would see the SNP adopt a policy whereby if Scotland votes in a majority of pro-independence candidates in next year’s Holyrood elections, that will be regarded as a mandate to begin independence negotiations with the UK Government – effectively turning next year’s poll into a referendum in itself.
Mrs Sturgeon previously tried to secure a referendum via a section 30 order, in reference to a section of the Scotland Act which permits Holyrood to pass laws in areas that are normally reserved to Westminster.
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However, in January UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote to her formally rejecting her request.
Mr McNeil tweeted: “With Sec30 dead … New game in town.”
The motion criticises “the undemocratic approach of the UK Government in denying the mandate of the Scottish Government to give the people of Scotland a choice on their own future”.
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It adds: “Conference calls on the Scottish Government to establish the legal competence of the Scottish Parliament holding a referendum on Scottish independence without the approval of the UK Parliament.
“Conference instructs that if a referendum on Scotland’s future is denied by the UK Government and the competence to hold a consultative referendum is not established, then the manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections shall state that the election of a pro-independence majority of seats, in the absence of a referendum, shall be a mandate from the people of Scotland to commence independence negotiations with the UK Government.”
Mr MacNeil told Scottish newspaper The National: “The motion is needed now especially, to give hope to members and wider Scotland more importantly.
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“Quite clearly from my questioning of Boris Johnson last week at the Liaison Committee, Section 30/Plan A for a Scottish independence referendum is well and truly dead.
“The idea that these guys will yield to any opinion that their position is ‘unsustainable’ is for the birds.
“People need hope now, this motion gives us hope, and it establishes a legitimate route to independence.
“That is the important bit, establishing legitimacy.
“A referendum does or an election establishes legitimacy, either are tools to for doing exactly that and it would be foolish on our side for anyone to undermine the legitimacy of either way at a ballot box.”
Recently opinion polls have consistently shown a majority in favour of independence north of the border, with Survation’s survey of 1,018 people, conducted between September 2 and 7, indicating 46 percent in favour, 40 percent opposed, and 13 percent undecided.
Polling guru John Curtice, who said Mrs Sturgeon was clearly in a very strong position currently, revealed the outline of the SNP’s plan to Express.co.uk last month.
With reference to Mr Johnson’s refusal to sanction a referendum, he explained: “The nightmare scenario is if indeed they do say no, one possibility is the SNP will go back to what used to be their position, which is if we win a majority of seats, either in Westminster or a Holyrood election, that is a mandate for independence, end of story.
“What you have to bear in mind is that if the SNP continues to dominate Scotland’s representation in Westminster, there is a non-trivial risk that in 2024 you will end up in a hung Parliament in which the SNP has the balance of power.
“And in those circumstances, if you have denied them a referendum and they have campaigned and they have got a majority of seats in Scotland saying this is a vote for independence, you will find yourself in an even worse pickle, because basically the SNP will just gum up the way the UK Government works.
“They will deny both Tories and Labour the opportunity to form a stable administration unless and until they accept at least probably a referendum.”
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